City officials have made it easier for Glendale Adventist Medical Center to upgrade or expand its facilities, creating a special zoning overlay for the hospital that officials say better accommodates the unique nature of the facility.
The City Council unanimously approved the zone change Tuesday.
City planner Laura Stotler explained to the council that the current commercial zoning regulation didn't account for a large, multibuilding campus such as Glendale Adventist.
“You might have areas that frankly, are not visible from the public, you might have multiple property lines but all owned by the same owner,” she said. “The city has issued lots of approved discretionary permits, we want to avoid those and build those uses directly into the zoning code.”
The zone change maintains the current height limits in the area, but simplifies approval for shared parking for medically related uses, and gives more flexibility for adding signs and banners on the hospital campus.
Also, assisted-living facilities would no longer require discretionary approval in the new zone.
The zone would extend to the Ventura (134) Freeway to the south, Sinclair Avenue to the west, Harvey Drive and Merrill Avenue to the east, and Chevy Chase Drive to the north.
Rodney Khan, a development consultant representing the hospital at the hearing, said that giving the hospital flexibility with signage was crucial.
“When people are going to the medical facility, it's for either an emergency or an appointment, so they need to find their way rather quickly,” he said.
Khan said the hospital isn't currently planning any new construction or expansion, but is looking at creating a master plan for the hospital's future growth, and that the new zone makes that easier.
“Over the years when we have been building the new buildings out on the campus, many of those buildings … required variances or required special use permits,” he said. “What we're hoping is this new zone … will actually eliminate those requirements.”
A community meeting held in July drew no opposition from neighboring residents or businesses, according to Stotler.
She also said the city would look at the possibility of creating similar overlay zones for the city's other hospitals, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and Glendale Memorial Hospital.